Unbelievable eco-resorts in Central and South America

Sir David Attenborough once notably said, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” Travel is a marvellous way to experience the exceptional beauty of our natural world. Especially in Central and South America, where the dizzying array of flora and fauna greets you on every step, sustainable travel has become more prominent than ever. Once a niche thing, ecotourism inevitably is our future if we want to play a part in conserving this wondrous world around us for future generations. Luxurious eco resorts immersed in beautiful natural surroundings focus on sustainable practices while offering the highest quality hospitality to their guests – sit back, relax, and enjoy!

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Photo: Explora en Valle Sagrado

1. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Nestled in the very heart of the Ecuadorian Choco rainforest, Mashpi Lodge is a dreamy tropical oasis that seeks to protect the ecosystem it is a part of. To reach this 5-star luxury hotel, you’ll embark on a few-hour ride from the capital city Quito. And while the ride may be bumpy, the destination is totally worth it. The contemporary architectural haven blends in seamlessly with its natural forest surroundings – even when you’re inside, floor-to-ceiling windows ensure the lush jungle greenery is always there, within reach (if you open the windows, a buzzing tropical orchestra of the natural world will serenade you day in and day out). The 24-room Mashpi Lodge feels both spacious and intimate at the same time, and the knowledgeable staff is always there to make you feel at home. Mashpi Lodge offers an abundance of activities you can enjoy at the reserve, all focused on enjoying the wildlife without disturbing it. There are fantastic food and drinks options available – a buffet-style breakfast will feed even the pickiest eaters as there’s a great range of hot and cold options. The dinner always includes Ecuadorian flavours that change daily. Enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience in one of the world’s most beautiful natural corners!

Quilotoa, Ecuador | Photo: Andres Medina

2. Lapa Rios, Puerto Jiménez, Costa Rica

Sustainable tourism has always played a significant role in Central America. Costa Rica prides itself on rich biodiversity, and many of the activities offered to visitors are tailored to approach the natural world with protective caution. Lapa Rios Lodge was the first eco lodge to open its doors in Costa Rica back in 1993. Named after the beautiful scarlet macaw bird native to its surroundings, this sustainable project has always looked to protect the fragile ecosystem. The hotel embraces nature-inspired native design that looks organic in the tropical landscape. The thatched-roof bungalows with spacious terraces allow travellers to enjoy an immersive experience unlike any other. Take a refreshing dip in a chemical-free pool or head to the spa for a relaxing, distraction-free massage with nature’s beautiful and soothing sounds in the background. The hotel’s in-house restaurant offers a range of healthy and fresh options that’ll keep your belly full and body revitalised. Whether you take a stroll in the jungle or enjoy birdwatching from one of the hammocks on the terrace, Lapa Rios promises a memorable stay and jaw dropping views!

Costa Rica | Photo: Asap Story

Costa Rica Credit Zdenek Machacek

Photo: Zdenek Machacek

3. Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa, Los Lagos, Chile

Tierra Chiloé is an eco friendly luxurious spa lodge in Chile, where daring adventures meet serene comfort and authentic experiences. The architecturally impressive hotel sits on an island where changeable weather conditions are used to provide heating and ventilation. The building itself mimics elements found in local fishing communities. If you are someone who enjoys spectacular views, here you’ll have plenty – panoramic windows open up to the Pacific Ocean, and you can watch the everchanging water and sky blending together in the distance. The interiors heavily incorporate wood which creates a natural feeling throughout the space – it’s both modern and minimalistic. Tierra Chiloé offers a range of activities perfect for those eager to explore and an on-site spa for relaxation afterwards. Whether you prefer to hike, bike, or sail, not a day will go by without a new adventure on the horizon. The hotel’s in-house restaurant has a farm-to-table approach, which takes advantage of its local fishing communities and seasonal ingredients. Expect a plethora of seafood dishes and mouthwatering Chilean cuisine.

4. Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos, Ecuador

Most people visit the Galapagos – a group of volcanic islands with remarkable biodiversity – on a cruise. But on the island of Santa Cruz, there’s a luxury eco hotel that’s so inviting you’ll be eager to stay on dry land for a few days. Pikaia Lodge, with its 14 guest suites, sits on top of an extinct volcano in a remote giant tortoise reserve. The carbon-neutral hotel is the first of its kind on the island, striking a perfect balance between the comforts of the modern world and the purity of surrounding nature. Steel and lava stone feature prominently in the design, while floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, and terraces offer beyond breathtaking views of the lush greenery and ocean. The experienced staff will make your stay as comfortable as possible, allowing you to enjoy a worry-free relaxation on-site or while going off on an adventure to explore the surroundings of this magical place.

Photo: Pikaia Lodge

Photo: Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos

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The carbon-neutral Pikaia Lodge is the first of its kind on the island, striking a perfect balance between the comforts of the modern world and the purity of surrounding nature

5. Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Cala Luna in Costa Rica takes a mindful approach to luxury travel by offering its customers a variety of holistic wellness treatments for the body and the soul, as well as taking every bit of care to protect the surrounding area. This boutique hotel in Central America uses solar power and weaves other sustainability practices into its everyday operations to achieve a carbon neutral status. Cala Luna harmoniously sits amidst a protected sea turtle reserve with a semi-private beach. Surrounding palm trees and azure waters make it easy to believe you’re in a tropical paradise. It only takes a few minutes to walk from the rooms to the beach, and guests have access to free bicycles for exploring the nearby town of Tamarindo. The bungalow-style guest rooms and villas are designed in natural, earthy tones, while the wood-beam vaulted ceilings add to the spacious feeling. Finish your days by enjoying lovely gourmet meals in the hotel’s restaurant, which has a farm-to-table approach (the hotel has its own organic farm garden).

6. UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, Brazil

Since opening back in 2009, UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa, located in the historic part of Trancoso fishing village in Brazil, offers a boutique 5-star experience to its guests looking to enjoy a relaxing escape in a tropical setting. Nestled in a lush garden, there are 10 private casas, 4 of which are fishermen’s cottages that have been restored. Here you’ll find that modern comfort is effortlessly mixed in with rustic charm. Local artisans have contributed their knowledge about traditional building methods, and the interiors display reclaimed materials as well as local antiques and art. On-site, there’s a lovely swimming pool, and the beach is only a 2-minute walk from the property. Relax by the water or enjoy a day at the spa, but if you’re looking for something a bit more adventure-driven, why not try horseback riding, hiking, or cycling in the beautiful surroundings? Sample local flavours at the on-site restaurant or participate in a cooking class to learn the tips and tricks of recreating authentic flavours using the best ingredients.

Brazil | Photo: Vinicius Cainelli

7. Treehouse Lodge, Peru

If you want your next trip to be an unforgettable experience, look no further – the Treehouse Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon is unlike anything else! In the place where the serene and protected Yarapa and Cumaceba rivers meet near the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, the all-inclusive treehouse lodges offer a unique perspective on the Peruvian rainforest that often remains unseen by travellers. Each treehouse has a different height in the tree canopy, but all offer first-row seats to witness birds and monkeys in their natural habitat. And while the bungalows seamlessly mix in with the surroundings, you won’t have to compromise on everyday comforts as they all have crisp white linens, bathrooms, and comfortable furnishings. The all-inclusive packages at the Treehouse Lodge mean that a variety of excursions available are all free of extra charge. Whether you’re keen to witness the sunrise or sunset with river dolphins during a boat ride on the Amazon, go for a jungle walk, or participate in a blowdart gun workshop, it’s all there for you to enjoy. So are three quality meals each day, prepared Peruvian-style by world-class chefs.

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EcoCamp Patagonia is an award-winning dome hotel in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park that invites you to connect with nature in comfort without having to endure the elements

8. EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile

Patagonia has long inspired adventure seekers with its dreamy and otherworldly mountain landscapes. Torres del Paine National Park is perhaps the most well-known (and most photographed) part of Patagonia, with its soaring peaks and pale turquoise waters. EcoCamp Patagonia is an award-winning dome hotel in the heart of the national park that invites you to connect with nature in comfort without having to endure the elements. The hotel proudly displays its Environmental Management System certification, which means it is fully carbon-neutral. The geodesic dome-shaped eco lodges offer comfortable glamping and magnificent views of the surrounding peaks. Wood-burning stoves will not only keep you warm but also add to the cosy feeling in the domes that have en suite bathrooms and open terraces. The domes harmoniously blend in with their surroundings, and their design draws inspiration from the practices of nomadic Patagonian people that once lived in these territories. At EcoCamp Patagonia, you’ll be able to take your pick from a range of guided activities that are organized daily – pack your down jacket and hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

9. Yacutinga Lodge, Argentina

Located on the Argentinian side of the border between Argentine and Brasil, Yacutinga Lodge sits in the heart of the Iguazu jungle forest reserve, two hours from the world-famous Iguazu Falls. This exceptional off the grid place is perfect for reconnecting with nature while switching off everyday worries (and technologies). With a sustainable approach, Yacutinga Lodge not only operates in a way that aims to conserve the environment but also offers eco-tourism packages to everyone looking to experience this part of South America. From the 2-night Yacutinga Experience and the 3-night yoga and meditation Yacutinga Insight to the 4-night Birds of the Jungle experience, there’s something for everyone. The private nature reserve lodge has 20 jungle-view rooms and one suite with comfortable, traditional interiors. Supporting the local communities, the meals are prepared using seasonal ingredients provided by local farmers – enjoy authentic flavours under a forest canopy! There’s also an outdoor pool for you to go for a relaxing swim in after an energising yoga session in the morning.

Photo: Explora en Valle Sagrado

10. Explora en Valle Sagrado, Peru

Machu Picchu is one of the most significant landmarks in the whole world. Despite that, the majority of people who visit, tend to do that on a day trip and without really getting to know the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru’s Cusco region. Explora en Valle Sagrado invites visitors to stay longer and really get to know this stunning part of South America. In addition to sleek and modern guest rooms, top-quality gastronomy, and a spa housed in a former hacienda, Explora en Valle Sagrado offers around 40 guide-led experiences that will reveal the wonders of the Urubamba valley. The interiors of the 44 rooms and six suites are heavily influenced by the natural elements (wood, in particular) and the clean lines prominent in Scandi architecture. This creates a truly zen experience that you’d expect, when surrounded by the Andes mountains. Meals are equally impressive and will fuel you for a day of adventures ahead (yes, there are packed lunches, too).

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Photo: Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos

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